PUBLIC NEWS RELEASES
223 Young Marines meet World War II Navajo Code Talkers
Tuesday, September 02, 2014
 
Two hundred twenty three members of the Young Marines including registered adult leaders traveled to Window Rock, AZ, to be part of Navajo Code Talkers Day which was Thursday, Aug. 14. Seventeen veteran Navajo Code Talkers attended.
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Scott Riley of the Columbus Young Marines named ‘National Adult Volunteer of the Year’
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization has named Scott Riley the “National Adult Volunteer of the Year” at the annual Adult Leaders Conference held in Washington D.C. Riley is the Unit Commander of Columbus Young Marines from Division 5 located in Colu
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Young Marines announces ‘National Unit of the Year’ - Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Unit from Knoxville, TN
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization announced the “National Unit of the Year” – Division Three’s Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Unit in Knoxville, TN, under the command of Virgil L. Young, Jr.
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National Executive Director and CEO Mike Kessler announces future retirement from the Young Marines
Thursday, August 07, 2014
 
Mike Kessler, National Executive Director and CEO of the Young Marines, announces his retirement which will take place in late 2015.
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The Young Marines unveil a new and expanded Drug Demand Reduction Program: ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs’
Monday, July 14, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization took its drug demand reduction efforts to the next level by launching a new program titled, “Closing the Gate on Drugs.” The program focuses on the drugs that our youth are exposed to early and most often - the ga
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The DEA and Young Marines present Enrique ‘Kiki’ Camarena Awards to six units
Monday, June 16, 2014
 
The DEA and Young Marines announce Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Award winners. The award honors six units, one award per division, for drug demand reduction efforts through community education and peer-to-peer role modeling.
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Blake DeWeese named ‘National Young Marine of the Year’
Friday, June 13, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization announced the 2014 - 2015 “National Young Marine of the Year” – YM SgtMaj Blake W. DeWeese, 18, of Beaverton, OR. As National Young Marine of the Year, DeWeese will travel throughout the country representing the Y
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Young Marines grateful for a grant from American Legion Child Welfare Foundation
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
 
The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation has provided a $90,000 grant to the Young Marines youth organization for the purpose of creating printed materials to use in its campaigns to reduce the demand for drugs through education.
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The Young Marines News Network wins second Telly Award
Monday, April 28, 2014
 
The 35th annual Telly Awards have been announced, and a Nov., 2013, broadcast of the Young Marines News Network won a 2014 bronze Telly in the online video category.
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Honorary Young Marine Zach Veach, teen race car driver, wins Indy Lights
Tuesday, April 08, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization salutes teen race car driver Zach Veach, 19, on his first place win in the season opener of the Indy Lights race held Sunday, March 30, in St. Petersburg, FL. He won by leading every lap of the race.
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Ten Young Marines Return From a Very Special ‘Reunion of Honor’ on Guam and Iwo Jima
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
 
Young Marines traveled to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual “Reunion of Honor.” Each year, American and Japanese veterans and their families come together for remembrances of their fallen brothers and to recall the fierce battles.
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Twenty Young Marines to participate in United Nations Conference
Thursday, March 06, 2014
 
Twenty youth members of the Young Marines youth organization are traveling from across the country to New York City on March 8 – 12, 2014, to participate in a conference held by the United Nations.
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Young Marines names six Division Young Marines of the Year
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
 
The Young Marines youth organization has named six division winners in its most prestigious award - the “Division Young Marines of the Year.”
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ABC Features the Young Marines Performing a Wreath Laying Ceremony at Pearl Harbor
Sunday, December 08, 2013
 
Friday, Dec. 6, youth members of the Young Marines performed a wreath laying ceremony at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, HI, in memory of the brave men and women who are interred there.
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Young Marines From Across the Nation Travel to Hawaii for 72nd Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack
Monday, December 02, 2013
 
Youth members of the Young Marines will travel to Hawaii to participate in the 72nd anniversary Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration. The Young Marines will lead the Pearl Harbor Memorial Parade in Honolulu and perform a wreath laying ceremony at the Natio
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Gary Weisbaum named Chief Marketing Officer of the Young Marines youth organization
Monday, November 18, 2013
 
Gary Weisbaum accepted a position as the Chief Marketing Officer for the Young Marines. Weisbaum will coordinate the Young Marines brand and marketing programs across the United States.
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Two Young Marines awarded Jimmie Trimble Scholarships at American Veterans Center Honors Awards Banquet
Thursday, November 14, 2013
 
YM MGySgt Mary Ann Wessell of Cleveland, OH, and YM MSgt Nathan Baker of Atlanta, GA, are the recipients of the Young Marines’ Jimmie Trimble Scholarship Awards which were presented at a black tie event on Saturday, Nov. 9, hosted by the American Vet
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For the Young Marines, Veterans’ Appreciation Week is all year long
Friday, November 01, 2013
 
Members of the Young Marines celebrate America’s veterans all year long, reaching more than 30,000 men and women who have served in the armed forces. The members of the Young Marines will participate in Veterans’ Appreciation Week - Nov. 4 - 11, 2013
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Young Marines participate in Red Ribbon Week - Oct. 23 – 31, 2013
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
 
Young Marines units from all over the country are participating in projects to support Red Ribbon Week – Oct. 23 – 31, 2013, which is the oldest and largest drug prevention program in the nation.
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Young Marines Symposium: A hatching ground for good ideas
Thursday, October 10, 2013
 
Advanced or senior members of the Young Marines will be traveling to Arlington, VA, for the annual national Young Marines Symposium held Thursday to Monday, Oct. 10–14, 2013.
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SELECTED ARTICLE
National Executive Director and CEO Mike Kessler announces future retirement from the Young Marines
Thursday, August 07, 2014
 

Mike KesslerMike Kessler, 63, National Executive Director and CEO of the Young Marines, announced his retirement which will take place in late 2015. The Young Marines is an education and service program with 11,000 youth members – age eight through high school - in the U.S. and overseas.

“We’re looking for a successor for Mike, not a replacement,” said William Walker, chairman of the search committee and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. “He is truly exceptional; therefore irreplaceable. Because of that, finding a successor will take time, which is why we’re announcing his retirement so early.”

According to Bill Smith, Chairman of the Young Marines Board of Directors, the modern Young Marines started with Kessler who was hired in 1999. 

“Mike has a great understanding of the congressional process which is vital,” Smith said. “He also has intellect, character, confidence, charisma, and experience to lead the Young Marines organization. We’re looking for a successor who will have passion for our mission but who will also understand the corporate mission and business.”

Kessler has become an expert on the business side or the organization including fiduciary accountability, an understanding of non-profit law, the value of strategic planning, operational oversight, board development, employee relations and human resource management.

“This is not just a Ma-‘n-Pa youth program,” Kessler said. “The Young Marines is a business, and failure to understand that could be very problematic. Besides the business side, I had the great pleasure to work with our many adult volunteers who play a vital role in the organization.”

Points of pride

Kessler says he’s extremely proud of the recognition the Young Marines received from the Department of Defense in receiving five Fulcrum Shield Awards for "excellence in youth anti-drug education."

He is also pleased with the role the Young Marines have taken as the leader in youth recognition of America’s veterans. Under his guidance and leadership, the Young Marines have become active in the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day in Hawaii, National Memorial Day events and Veteran’s Day each November.

In addition, Kessler originated the annual trip to Guam and Iwo Jima and the trips to meet the Navajo Code Talkers in Window Rock, AZ, and help them commemorate Navajo Code Talker Day.

Other high points include five Telly Awards for video production and the creation of the Young Marines News Network. The Young Marines participate in an annual non-governmental organization conference held at the United Nations in New York City.

Kessler is in the process of the formal establishment of the Young Marines Alumni Association and the Young Marines National Foundation. Another area of pride is the creation of the Congressional Military Youth Caucus which is a joint venture between the Young Marines and the National Naval Sea Cadets.

“In June, 2014, we released a new campaign called ‘Closing the Gate on Drugs,’” Kessler said. “With a generous grant from the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, we were able to create a detailed anti-drug campaign kit that is being sent to all 300 units across the country.”

As for the youth members of the Young Marines, Kessler loves them and looks forward to those rare moments when he’s around them. They re-charge his batteries.

“My greatest pride is observing how well the young people do after they leave the program,” he said.

Young Marines range in age from eight through the completion of high school. Kessler, his staff and thousands of volunteers work to give every Young Marine the chance to excel and become confident, respectful and self-starting young adults.

Seattle roots

Kessler grew up north of Seattle in Mountlake Terrace, WA. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Washington, Seattle. His master’s degree is in International Relations and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Warfare, Newport, RI.

He received a NROTC Scholarship and chose the Marine Corps option in 1970. In June, 1973, he was commissioned a second lieutenant.

Most of Kessler’s military career was spent on the West Coast and in the Pacific Theater. He was deployed around the world and spent a great deal of time in the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean and eastern Africa.

Currently, Kessler and his wife Kimberly live in Falls Church, VA. Once retired, they will move back to their roots in Snohomish County, WA, to be closer to their six adult children and five grandchildren.

“The Board of Directors will let me move, but they are going to keep a tight leash on me for the next couple of years,” he said. “There have been many changes to this program during my tenure, so I will remain in a consultant capacity for a time following the announcement of the next CEO.”

“He has done it all, and he is the center of gravity for the organization,” William Walker said. “It will be critical to have the right person step in.”

The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 300 units with 11,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, Japan and affiliates in a host of other countries.

For more information about the position email: YMNHQ@youngmarines.com

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Media Contact: Andy Richardson
Ginny Richardson Public Relations
630-789-8899 or arichardson@gr-pr.com